grad programme


First Year Seminars & Introductory Courses


NOTE: HUM199 courses may not be used to fulfill the requirements of any NMC programme.


HUM 199Y -- FIRST YEAR SEMINARS have been renumbered to reflect Breadth Categories in subject matter at the University of Toronto:
CCR199 = Category 1 (Creative and Cultural Representations)
TBB199 = Category 2 (Though, Belief and Behaviour)
SII199 = Category 3 (Society and Its Institutions)
LTE199 = Category 4 (Living Things and their Environment)
PMU199 = Category 5 (Physical and Mathematical Universes)

Undergraduate seminars that focus on specific ideas, questions, phenomena or controversies, taught by a regular faculty member deeply engaged in the discipline. Open only to newly admitted first year students. It may serve as a Distribution Requirement course.


CCR199H1 - Licit Magic: How Does The Qu'ran Mean?

 The major themes of the Qur’an, God, Revelation, Humanity, Community, History, Salvation are articulated and presented in characteristic ways. This seminar will focus on first what the Qur’an means with regard to these and other important topics such as law and order, love and family life and piety and prosperity. The main work of the course, however, is to come to some understanding and appreciation of just how the Qur’an expresses Itself. What are the main features of the Quranic literary style? Why is this style so compelling? In the course of our seminar we will isolate certain passages of characteristic beauty and persuasive power to try to come to terms with what has been called the “licit magic” of Islam’s holy book. Students will be encouraged to pursue their own particular interests as a way of contributing to the seminar discussions
T. Lawson

CCR199H1 - Iranian Women Write Their Lives

This course examines the memoirs of Iranian women from different generations and backgrounds. We will look at an artist, an activist, and a student as well as women whose ordinary lives were interrupted by events beyond their control. What or who triggers a desire for self-expression; a need to leave behind a record of a life lived? We will look for the ways in which these women use the literary medium of the memoir to express their personality.
R. Sandler

CCR199H1 - Ancient Egyptian Storytelling

Ancient pharaonic literature is full of wonderful stories that touch upon such universal themes as cowardice that must be subsequently redeemed, the importance of home and country, travel abroad, and overcoming one's destiny, while other tales weave magic and mythical motifs into what seem to be innocuous funny stories on the surface. This course will examine the various levels of comprehension that an ancient audience may have been expected to get upon hearing such tales. We will be reading the texts in English translations and the students will be encouraged to bring in their own experience with fictional literature in the class discussions.
R. Leprohon


CCR199H1 - The Mummy: Technology and Transformation

This course will explore one of the most fascinating creations of Ancient Egypt: the mummified human body. The technology of mummification preserved human remains to an astonishing degree, achieving the goal of its practitioners and also giving rise to the occult association of mummuies with the "undead". We will trace the development of the techniques used in mummification, the role of the mummy in the transformation of the deceased, and the significance of mummification within the context of the ancient culture of Egypt. In addition, we will examine some of the uses of mummies in more modern times, as important sources of information about the diet, health, and lives of the ancient individuals thus preserved, and also as objects of interest in museums and in the media. The course also encourages discussion of the ethical concerns that these uses raise, including the treatment of mummies by ancient tomb-robbers and later collectors, their role in colonialist perspectives on Egypt, their importance for cultural heritage, and their objectification as things to be displayed to the public.
M.A. Pouls Wegner


CCR199H1 - Nationalism and Ethnic Contest in the Biblical World

The Iron Age (ca. 1200-600) witnessed the emergence, maturation, and then collapse of a diverse constellation of small territorial “nation states” along the Eastern Mediterranean, including the biblical Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. These diminutive states were characterized by their unstable, yet highly competitive, political culture, and constantly fluctuating territorial boundaries. Demographically, their populations were multi-ethnic in character, with no single group able to dominate consistently, resulting in a dynamic social landscape resembling a poly-ethnic mosaic. Their communities were also remarkably innovative and culturally vibrant. This seminar will draw on both ancient texts and material cultural expressions of national and ethnic identity from the biblical world of the Iron Age, as well as theoretical literature on nationalism and ethnicity, to explore the formative role they played in giving shape to this dynamic era in ancient Near Eastern history.
T. Harrison


CCR199Y1 - Voices From Ancient Egypt: Pharaonic Written Culture

This course is designed to provide the student with an overview of the written materials from ancient Egypt, covering various genres and backgrounds. The structure of the course will be boradly historical, beginning with the earliest examples of coherent texts from around 2400 BCE and ending with the Demotic literature of the last centuries BCE and first centuries CE (if time permits, we may even venture into some Coptic hagiographies and poetry of as late as the 10th centure CR). Within this historical approach, some sessions will have a particular genre as their theme: Thus, Myths and Wisdom Literature are treated separately, permitting to trace their development through different periods. Problems of methodology in analyzing texts from an ancient culture will be addressed, and -- as far as possible -- we will attempt to view the texts as products of their time and consider the (social) context and background before which they were written.
No prior knowledge of the ancient Egyptian language(s) or history is required. The texts will be read in English, and specified primary and secondary sources should be read before the session in which they are discussed.
K. Goebs



NMC101H1 Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations I: Land of the Pharaohs [36L/12T]
The course traces the history of ancient Egypt from the foundation of the Egyptian state around 3050 BCE to its incorporation into the Roman Empire. The focus is on various aspects of Egyptian culture, including the institution of kingship, the role of women, and the peculiarities of Egyptian art, literature, and religion. Emphasis is placed on the methods by which knowledge about this ancient civilization can be obtained.
Exclusion: NMC101Y1. NMC343H1/NMC344H1 may not be taken in the same year.
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

NMC102H1 Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations II: Heartland of Ancient Empires[36L/12T]
The history of ancient Near Eastern peoples and empires, particularly those centered in Mesopotamia. The origins and role of writing systems in the development of civilization. The cultural contributions of the Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians, ancient Israelites, Persians, and others, in the areas of law, administration, science, art and architecture, religion, and literature.
Exclusion: NMC101Y1. NMC346H1/NMC347H1/NMC370H1 may not be taken in the same year.
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

NMC103H1 Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations III: The Islamic World [24L/12T]
An introduction to the history, lands, peoples, religions, and cultures that came under the influence of Islam and that, in turn, contributed to the formation of Islamic civilization. Topics to be covered include an overview of the geographical and ethno-linguistic scope of the Islamic world, the role of the Qur’an and Arabic language, the major Islamic empires, the production and transmission of knowledge, law and society, and literary and artistic expressions.
Exclusion: NMC184H1
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)